ISLIP - A debt ceiling bill was signed into law today, possibly averting a first-ever government default, but now the U.S. Congress is gearing up for another battle over the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The shutdown resulted from the lawmakers' failure to reach an agreement authorizing officials to collect federal taxes. Since July 23, the government has been losing $30 million a day in tax revenue.
Due to the impasse over taxes, air travelers should have been paying less for tickets, but the prices haven't dropped because airlines made up the difference by raising fares.
The Internal Revenue Service has called on airlines to refund taxes on flights purchased before July 23. Travelers who bought tickets before the shutdown but flew during it are due a refund.
So far, Delta and US Airways have agreed to the refunds.
Three projects at Long Island MacArthur Airport are currently stalled because of the FAA shutdown, which could last until September at the earliest if Congress decides to go into recess without taking a vote.
"It's unconscionable that House members left town without taking a simple vote that would put 91,000 Americans back on the job tomorrow," Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) says.